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Microsoft Word Sample Text Trick - The Quick Brown Fox

This is an interesting little trick if you use Microsoft Word.

1. Open a blank Microsoft Word document.

2. Enter =rand() and press the "enter" key.

In Word 2003 and earlier versions, using the rand() function in the way described automatically adds several sentences and paragraphs that repeat the words, The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

These words are often used for testing because, together, they contain all the letters in the English alphabet in one concise and coherent sentence. Such a sentence is known as a pangram.

In Word 2007, the rand() function adds information about using specific Word features in order to create a more realistic document for testing. However, if you wish to use the "Quick Brown Fox" pangram in Word 2007, you can still do so by inputting the function =rand.old(). Another Word 2007 option is to use =lorem(), This function automatically adds the familiar Lorem ipsum dummy text that has been used by the printing and typesetting industry since the 1500's. Nowadays, Lorem ipsum text is also used extensively by web developers and publishers to add random text to such things as templates and website prototypes.

You can alter the results of the rand() function by adding numbers in the round brackets. The first number controls the number of paragraphs while the second number controls the number of sentences in each paragraph. For example, using "rand(3,5)" will add three paragraphs of five sentences each. Leaving the brackets empty will add the default number of paragraphs and sentences, which is set at three sentences and three paragraphs.

This information often circulates via email with the added disclaimer that "not even Microsoft can explain the result". Some of the emails also falsely claim that Microsoft is offering a large cash prize for anyone who can shed light on this trick.

In fact, this is a well-documented feature of Microsoft Word that simply allows sample text to be quickly added to a document for testing purposes. Microsoft can in fact "explain the result" and do so in an article on the MS Support website.

Last updated: 2nd November 2009
Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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Microsoft Magic